Gamaguchi Note

Gamaguchi Note
* Tsumugi, pongee, is a silk and rarely cotton fabric.

* A Tenugui is a thin Japanese hand towel made of cotton. It is typically about 35 by 90 centimeters (13.7" x 35.4") in size, plain weaved and is almost always printed with some pattern. It can be used for anything a towel could be used for - as a washcloth, dishcloth, headband, souvenir or decoration. Towels made from terry cloth have replaced many of its use in the household. However tenugui is still popular as a souvenir, decoration and as a head covering in Kendo.

* Edo Sarrasa : Tokyo sarasa

* Nobody really knows when Kihachijo started to be made, but records from the Muromachi-era around the 14th century allude to gifts of Kihachijo fabric made for the government of the time. In the Edo-era (1600-1868), it became a fabric by appointment to the family of the Shogun. It seems that the Hachijo Island got its name from the Kihachijo fabric. The colors yellow, brown, and black (all colors from the island’s plants and grass) used for this elegant woven silk fabric are distinctive and give it a particular sobriety. These kimono and obi still have many followers today. One of the Akita Hachijo’s color come from Japanese rose.

* Nishijin weaving was created in Kyoto over 1,200 years ago by using many different types of colored yarns and weaving them together into decorative designs. These specialized procedures are tedious, but necessary to obtain the spectacular design needed to ensure the quality of Nishijin weaving.

* Bingata is an Okinawan traditional paste resist dyeing technique. It was created in the 16th century as a dying process for the clothing of the royalty and the nobles of the Ryukyu Kingdom. Because of this, most of the dye-shops at the time were located around Shuri Castle and protected by the government. Although the word “bin-gata” literally means “red patterns” in Japanese, Bingata is generally multi-colored cloth dyed with various patterned stencil papers. Today, Bingata resist dyed cloth is used not only for clothing but also for many other items such as bags and tapestries, all of which feature an exotic atmosphere of a southern land. Together with Yuzen dyeing, it is one of Japan’s representing dyeing techniques now.

* Noto jofu refers to the high-quality hemp fabric from the Noto region of Ishikawa Prefecture. It is an Ishikawa Intangible Cultural Asset. Hakui City and Rokusei Town in the Noto Peninsula are often associated with hemp. According to legend, the daughter of Emperor Sujin spun wild hemp into thread and taught women in the area to weave. There are some sources that say that the hemp thread was dedicated at Todaiji Temple in Nara. Until the early days of the Edo-era, local high-quality hemp leaves were used to make what is called Omi jofu. During the Edo-era, the production of original jofu gained momentum. People from Noto invited craftsmen from Omi to learn their famed dyeing techniques and the two combined to create a new type of jofu. Jofu is used to refer to hemp fabric of the highest quality. In the first year of the Bunsei-era (1818), this new type of fabric was given a special name, Noto. Since then weaving technique has improved, and starting from the end of the Meiji-era, Noto jofu has become the term used to refer to this type of cloth.

* Kogin is a uniquely Japanese needlework technique that was born of a practical desire for warmth, and the need to strengthen a fabric used in everyday life. Kogin is recognized by its characteristic blue and white geometric designs, which are embroidered with thick threads on a base fabric. The origins of this technique can be traced to the peasants in the Tsugaru Peninsula at the northwestern tip of Honshu - Japan's main island – in the 1600's. The characteristic blue and white designs were given names for things common to everyday life (soybean, cat's eye, running waters, etc.) Naming the patterns for items surrounding a stitcher helped to recall the patterns from memory, since formal graphs or charts had yet to be developed. Eventually, over three hundred patterns grew from the diamond shape, with certain designs associated with specific geographic areas.

* Inden: Print urushi (usually use stencil) on dyed deer skin.

* Kata-zome: Stencil dyed

* Shibori is a Japanese term for several methods of dyeing cloth with a pattern by binding, stitching, folding, twisting, or compressing it. Some of these methods are known in the West as tie-dye. Western civilization does not have an exact word equivalent that encompasses all the techniques of shibori. Tie-dye simply covers binding methods of dyeing, known as bound resist.

* Ai (zome): Indigo (dyed). The basic raw material is the leaf of the Polygonum Tinctorium. The Japanese process differs from that in other parts of the world in that the leaves are fermented to extract the indigo compound. The plant grows well in the western part of Japan (mainly Tokushima = old name, Awa.) Using sukumo (fermented Polygonum leaves = composted leaves) doesn't provide any shortcut to the rest of the dyeing process. Compared with other Indigo dyeing methods, the Japanese way requires more sensitive care throughout the process because they have to keep the bacteria alive through the entire dyeing session. The Japanese words some and zome mean dyed.

* Kijoka basho-fu is one of the oldest handwoven textiles of Okinawa. It is mainly woven in Kijoka, and is a representative textile of Okinawa. It is believed that basho-fu was already being made in the 13th century, although it was not until the modern-era that it became more widely used. Wives and daughters wove the cloth for their families, and created the thread from the basho (banana) plants cultivated in their yards and fields. Even though cotton had become common in the 19th century, basho was still popular among the local people.

* The tradition of making Aizu momen dates back many hundreds of years to when it was hand-woven by women at home as a hard-wearing thick cotton cloth used for making casual and working clothes. Aizu momen cloth is easily recognizable by its traditional thick striped patterns of browns and indigos. (Incidentally, the process of producing indigo colored cotton thread involves a lot of repetitive and arduous work). In the days when most Aizu folk wore clothes made of Aizu momen it was a common sight to see dyed cotton yarn fluttering in the wind in the yards of the many momen factories. Aizu momen was first produced during the Edo-era (1603-1867) when the local feudal lord and leader of the Aizu clan, Hoshina Masayuki encouraged his people to grow cotton and produce Aizu momen. During the following Meiji-era (1868-1912) the number of cotton yarn spinning mills reached its peak. The company still using Toyota weaving machine.

* Famed Miyazaki Yuzensai (1650-1736) introduced Kaga Yuzen to Kanazawa during the Edo-era. The technique for making Kaga Yuzen is quite complicated. First, a rough sketch is made on the material using the juice of a spiderwort flower; the sketch looks like stitches of blue thread. Next, the sketch is traced with a special paste made from glutinous rice. Then the space surrounded by the paste is painted. The design is purposefully made to look like it has been worm-eaten to give it a sense of quiet elegance known as wabisabi in Japanese. The five basic colors used in Kaga Yuzen are red, indigo, dark yellow, green, and ancient purple (black). Another special feature of Kaga Yuzen is that when a kimono dyed using this technique is spread out it forms a continuous scene from one sleeve to the other. It is used primarily on kimono, but also on scarves and other smaller, more affordable items.